Category Archives: Watchman Warnings

Praying for the Lost

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Intercessory prayer in church must not be for other believers only, but also for unbelievers. Many attendees mistakenly consider themselves true Christians, and others are merely curious. Both are doomed for a Christless and hopeless eternity. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

There is still an opportunity to reach them, as the hymn “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship” reminds us.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumb‘ring on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers
And our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.

George Askins, “We Have Met to Worship”

Our hearts should especially be broken for loved ones who face eternity without Christ as Savior. What can be done? Pray. God answers the prayer of His children. We are assured that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

What would this serving of manna be worth to you to see a wayward family member or neighbor repent of their sin and come back to fellowship with God? To see your fractured church healed of the disunity caused by wolves disguised as sheep? Surely this manna would be sweet indeed. Surely it is worth an hour of intercessory prayer. JDM

Jesus Purges His Father’s House

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” (Psalm 69:9)

After spending a few days at Capernaum, Jesus, His family, and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem to observe the Passover (John 2:12-13). The huge temple complex, rebuilt by Herod, had been turned into something akin to a religious shopping mall, with stalls and booths surrounding the outer court with vendors who “sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting” (John 2:14).

Ostensibly, these vendors were there to facilitate the thousands of visitors who had come to observe the Passover and offer sacrifices and contribute payment for certain vows and “redemption” fees identified by the Old Testament laws (Leviticus 27). However, the system had been corrupted by “heavy burdens” of usurious temple fees levied by the priesthood (Matthew 23:4).

Jesus became incensed by the open corruption and flagrant violation of God’s instructions, and making “a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:15-16).

What a sight this must have been! Just a small taste of the “zeal of thine house” (John 2:17) turned this one man into a flurry of power that stunned a host of vendors, priests, and temple guards. One day, “the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever” (Revelation 15:7) will be unleashed on Earth. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). HMM III

Watering Down the Word of God

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:19)

It is a very serious error to try to add some new revelation to God’s written Word, as many cults and false religions do. This is the warning of verse 18 (see also Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6).

It is even more dangerous, as shown in the above text (the third from the last verse of the Bible), to delete (or even dilute) any of the words of the Bible. Note that the warning emphasizes the words, not just the thoughts.

The sad fact is that a great many liberal theologians, especially in the past hundred years or so, have been doing just that, thinking thereby to make Christianity more compatible with modern science and philosophy. But they are literally playing with fire—this same book had just warned that any whose names do not remain in the book of life will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Tragically, many of the sections they seek to “take away” are the references to hell.

God has promised to guard His Word against any such deletions. “The words of the LORD are pure words: . . . Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” (Psalm 12:6-7).

There are also many who would not try to take away any of the words from the text, but who then dilute their intended meaning in order to attract unbelieving intellectuals. This also is dangerous.

Peter warns against those who would “wrest, . . . scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). We must never forget the words of the Bible are “pure words,” meaning just what they say. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is profitable . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16). HMM

How to Spot a False Prophet and Teacher

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18).

The best way to guard yourself against falsehood and false teachers is to know the truth. To spot a counterfeit, study the real thing. Any believer who “correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and who makes a careful study of the Bible can identify false doctrine.

Charles Ryrie

For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the doctrine of the Triune God. Therefore, step one is to study the Bible and judge all teaching by what the Scripture says.

Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). When looking for “fruit,” here are three specific tests to apply to any teacher to determine the accuracy of his or her teaching:

1) What does this teacher say about Jesus? In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” In 2 John 9, we read, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” In other words, Jesus Christ and His work of redemption is of utmost importance; beware of anyone who denies that Jesus is equal with God, who downplays Jesus’ sacrificial death, or who rejects Jesus’ humanity. First John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son.”

2) Does this teacher preach the gospel? The gospel is defined as the good news concerning Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). As nice as they sound, the statements “God loves you,” “God wants us to feed the hungry,” and “God wants you to be wealthy” are not the complete message of the gospel. As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).

3) Does this teacher exhibit character qualities that glorify the Lord? Speaking of false teachers, Jude 11 says, “They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.” In other words, a false teacher can be known by his pride (Cain’s rejection of God’s plan), greed (Balaam’s prophesying for money), and rebellion (Korah’s promotion of himself over Moses). Jesus said to beware of such people and that we would know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).

For further study, review those books of the Bible that were written specifically to combat false teaching within the church: Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, and Jude. It is often difficult to spot a false teacher/false prophet.

Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), and his ministers masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:15). Only by being thoroughly familiar with the truth will we be able to recognize a counterfeit.

Seducing Spirits

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)

These “latter days” are surely characterized by the tragic departure from the faith on the part of many. Unfortunately, even many of our churches have followed what should certainly be exposed as “seducing spirits,” embracing lies taught under the influence of Satan.

A list of such false teachings and practices within the church would surely implicate many. Let us look at the examples Paul gives in the next few verses:

First, he identifies the leaders and teachers of these errors as hypocritical liars who intentionally deceive their prey. They have deadened any possibility of right attitude by hardening their minds and searing their consciences (v. 2).

Next, we are given examples of their heresy: “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving” (v. 3).

Many cults and pseudo-Christian groups have fallen into these traps, but both the institution of marriage and the provision of foods were specifically created by God for man’s enjoyment and blessing (marriage: see Genesis 1:28; 2:18, 24; foods: Genesis 1:29; 9:3). They are to be “received with thanksgiving” to a loving Creator, “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Each of these and all of God’s creation are “very good” (Genesis 1:31), if used properly.

But the main point of this passage is that we should guard against the heresy of false teachers and from imposing on ourselves and our fellow Christians a false piety—practices which may make us feel “holier than thou” but which, in reality, impugn God and His creation.

Rather, let us be among those “which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3) of God’s loving provision of creation. JDM

When Nations Forget God

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17)

The subject of hell is widely ignored today, even by evangelical teachers and pastors. Heaven is commonly mentioned at funerals, of course, since almost everyone attending a funeral wants to think that the deceased has gone there (assuming there turns out to be such a place). Hell is rarely acknowledged as even a possibility, on the other hand, even for mobsters or other criminals.

Nevertheless, hell is real and it is going to be more fully populated than heaven. The Lord Jesus said (and He should know!), “Broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: . . . narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

But just who are the “wicked” that will be turned into hell? According to the Bible, “there is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), and “the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). By the principle of Hebrew poetic parallelism, our text would indicate that “the wicked” are those who “forget God,” where the connotation of “forget” is “become oblivious to.”

Can whole nations become oblivious to the true God of creation—and do business and legislate and conduct all their affairs just as though God no longer existed? If so, those nations (or at least those citizens of those nations who practice such wickedness) are in mortal danger. “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross” (Psalm 119:119).

But “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) and “blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:12). We who trust Christ therefore surely need to work and pray earnestly for our nation, and its people, that they return to genuine love of God and His Word. HMM

The Spirits of Truth and Error

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)

Here we are given assurance that we will be able to tell the difference in people by the way they respond to the Word of God. The emphasis is on the believer’s ability to discern a spirit (attitude or character) of truth or error among those to whom we witness.

This is important because we are told not to cast “pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6) and to “shake off the very dust” from our feet against those who will not receive our witness (Luke 9:5).

Others disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness when they are really the ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). How can we tell which is which?

The spirit of truth is relatively easy to discern. Those who hear the Word (Mark 4:18-20) and receive the Word with all readiness of mind (Acts 17:11) are of the truth (John 18:37). Such people come willingly to the light (John 3:21) and ask for a “reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

The spirit of error can be more difficult to discern. Its source is Satan (John 8:44), who deceives (Revelation 12:9) and uses his servants to manipulate and mislead (Ephesians 4:14).

Some of these run among God’s family and live “in error” (2 Peter 2:18). They can be fruitless trees and “raging waves . . . foaming out their own shame” (Jude 12-13), or like “tares” among the wheat that even the angels have trouble recognizing (Matthew 13:38-40). These won’t listen to truth.

Our job is to be ready to give the answer to the one and to reject the other. HMM III

Destroy Them, O Lord

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bible-1.png

“Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.” (Psalm 5:10)

No less than 20 of the psalms contain what are known as “imprecations” — that is, prayers to God to judge and destroy the wicked — and this verse is the first of them. As such, it sets the pattern, helping us to understand why the Lord would include such vindictive prayers in His inspired Word. At first, they seem incongruous with a God of love and mercy who has told us to love our enemies, but they help us to understand that God also must judge sin — especially the sin of rebellion. In them, we are taught to see the sin of rebellion in its true light — through the eyes of a loving Creator who has been rejected to the point of no return.

It is one thing to commit an act of wickedness when overcome by temptation; it is quite another thing for men to deliberately rebel against God Himself, seeking by their “counsels” to turn others against Him, and even, if it were possible, to destroy Him and His Word altogether.

This is the age-long sin of Satan, as well as that of the leaders of both ancient paganism and modern evolutionary humanism.

Like the psalmist David, we must pray for God to defeat them and their counsels, for otherwise they will continue to lead multitudes of others into their own transgression.

There is still room for forgiveness of individual sinners, of course — even among such as these — if they come in true repentance, but most such rebels are already irrevocably hardened against God and His Word. The appropriate prayer in such a case is (as David prayed in another of the imprecatory psalms):

“Scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield. . . . let them even be taken in their pride” (Psalm 59:11-12). HMM

Copyright © 2019. Powered by Reagan Communications & John 3:16-17.